Preacher's Pulpit by Dr. Joe Tims

Choose to Change #6: Contentment over Comparison

Phil 4:10-13

INTRODUCTION

For several weeks we have looked at some of the choices we make as believers.

Most of our life is defined by those choices.

The challenge is for us to choose contentment over comparison.

Comparison causes us to be discontented!

People are discontented with their jobs, and employers are discontented with their workers.

Husbands and wives discontented with one another keep the divorce courts filled with such cases.

Families are destroyed because parents are discontented with their children and children feel the same way toward their parents.

It is true in the business world, politics, sports, and, perhaps, the greatest tragedy of all the local churches!

The challenge for us as individuals and as a Church is to choose contentment over comparison.

I. What Contentment Is Not

A. It is not complacency ("smug and uncritically satisfied with oneself or one's achievements.")

1. To be complacent one is satisfied with self.

2. It carries the idea of no longer caring about what happens.

3. To resign or give up on life.

B. It is not the nature of sinful man to be content.

(v11b) ". . . for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content."

1. Contentment is something we must learn.

2. We learn by practice and we know by experience.

3. It is not having everything that we think we might enjoy.

(Eccl. 2:10 11) "And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labour: and this was my portion of all my labour. {11} then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun."

4. Solomon learned by practice and knew by experience that satisfaction and contentment can not be found in things.

5. A grave marker was observed with this inscription:

a. She Died for Want of Things

b. He died trying to give them to her.

(Eccl 5:10) "He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity."

II. What Contentment Is

A. Contentment comes from to within and not from without.

(V-11b) " . . . In whatsoever state I am . . . "

1. The word 'contentment' comes from the word 'containment' which describes a person who is 'self contained'.

2. Someone who has learned to derive satisfaction from his or her inner resources, rather than from external resources.

(Col 3:2) "Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth."

B. It is not a result of having great wealth, but in having few wants.

1. Contented folks are satisfied with their lot in life, while others are never satisfied no matter what they have!

(Phil 4:19) "But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."

2. Contentment is not having everything we want, but is enjoying everything we have.

III. How Can We Choose To Be Content?

(Phil 4:10 13) "But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; where in ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity. (11) Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. (12) I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. (13) I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."

A. Paul's Example.

1. Rejoice in the Lord!

2. He had learned contentment!

3. Whether was abounding or was being abased.

4. Whether he was full or was hungry.

5. Whether he was suffering a need or having his needs met.

B. We must center our lives around Jesus Christ.

(V13) "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."

C. The Word of God instructs us to be content

(1Tim 6:6 8) "But godliness with contentment is great gain. {7} for we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. {8} and having food and raiment let us be therewith content."

1. With our circumstances (Rom 8:28)

2. With our wife or husband

D. We should never be content

1. With our knowledge of God's Word.

2. With our service to the Lord.

3. With the amount of time we spend in prayer.

4. With our level of giving unto the work of God

5. With the number of people we are reaching with the Gospel.

CONCLUSION

Are we comparing or are we contented?

Comparing will only bring dissatisfaction and heartache.

Contentment will bring joy, peace, and fulfillment.

It is time we choose to learn to be contented.

If you do not know Christ as your Savior, you will never know true contentment.

Remember: The choice is yours . . . Contentment or Comparing?